Service users' perceptions of community mental health services

Understanding what community mental health care is like for service users provides key information about the quality of services across England. The NHS Constitution commits the NHS to encourage patients to give feedback of their experiences and to use this to improve services. The Community Mental Health Survey asks a sample of service users from each trust several questions about their experiences.

Service users' overall experience of community mental health services

Since 2013, the Community Mental Health Survey has asked service users to rate their overall experience from 0 (very poor) to 10 (very good). The proportion of people rating their overall experience as very good has increased by 2% since 2013, with 20% of respondents giving a score of 10 in 2017. However, between 2013 and 2017 the proportion of respondents who gave ratings of 7, 8 or 9 each fell by about 1.5%. The proportion of service users reporting very poor overall experience has increased by 1% since 2013.

Updated January 2018.

Have there been changes in support for community mental health service users?

Service users were asked whether in the last 12 months NHS mental health services had given them any help or advice with finding support for various aspects of their lives. Physical health needs were the best supported, with the lowest proportion of service users reporting that they had not been given any help or advice (36% in 2017). Overall, respondents received the least support for finding or keeping work, with an average of 44% of service users reporting that they had not received any help or advice between 2012 and 2017. Support for financial advice or benefits has worsened, as in 2012 37% of service users reported that they did not receive any help or advice compared to 45% in 2017.

Updated January 2018.

How has the proportion of service users who do not know how to contact their care coordinator changed?

In the Community Mental Health Survey, service users who responded that they knew who was in charge of organising their care and services were asked if they knew how to contact this person if they had a concern about their care. From 2012 to 2017, the proportion of respondents who did not know how to contact their care coordinator fluctuated between 3% and 4%. Note that there was a slight change in the way the question was worded in 2014.

Updated January 2018.

About this data

The Community Mental Health Survey is sent to a random sample of service users from each trust aged 18 and over who received specialist care or treatment for a mental health condition within a specified time period.

The survey asks people about their overall care, crisis care, access and coordination of care, patient involvement, medicines and additional support.

Respondents who stated that they did not know/could not remember are excluded from the survey results. To enable national comparison between years, data is weighted to account for differences in response rates between trusts. A further weighting accounts for differences in response rates at a given trust in a given year, across age groups or gender.

The Community Mental Health Survey underwent two major redevelopments in 2010 and 2014 to revise its methodology and questionnaire content to reflect changes in policy and best practice.

Comments

I don't understand the purpose of the "Perceptions of the quality of care for community mental health services in 2013 and 2014" figures. By measuring it it looks like you could easily fool yourself into everything was just fine and dandy.
If I was selling something I might well be interested in people's perceptions of the product, but if everyone's perceptions are stellar, it won't actually help them - thinking things are OK doesn't make it so.

I would be really interested in their perceptions if they compared their treatment to the NICE guidelines, i.e. they don't know what they're missing if they don't know it exists.

Roger Sharp (not verified)
(changed )

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